What is the Research Methods Knowledge Base?
The Research Methods Knowledge Base is a comprehensive web-based textbook that addresses all of the topics in a typical introductory undergraduate or graduate course in social research methods. It covers the entire research process including: formulating research questions; sampling (probability and nonprobability); measurement (surveys, scaling, qualitative, unobtrusive); research design (experimental and quasi-experimental); data analysis; and, writing the research paper. It also addresses the major theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of research including: the idea of validity in research; reliability of measures; and ethics.
The Knowledge Base was designed to be different from the many typical commercially-available research methods texts. It uses an informal, conversational style to engage both the newcomer and the more experienced student of research. It is a fully hyperlinked text that can be integrated easily into an existing course structure or used as a sourcebook for the experienced researcher who simply wants to browse.
About the Author
William M.K. Trochim is a Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. He has taught both the undergraduate and graduate required courses in applied social research methods since joining the faculty at Cornell in 1980.
He received his Ph.D. in 1980 from the program in Methodology and Evaluation Research of the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University. His research interests include the theory and practice of research, conceptualization methods (including concept mapping and pattern matching), strategic and operational planning methods, performance management and measurement, and change management.
He is the developer of The Concept System and founder of Concept Systems Incorporated. He lives in Ithaca, New York and New York City. His website is available at billtrochim.net.
This work, as is true for all significant efforts in life, is a collaborative achievement. I want to thank especially the students and friends who assisted and supported me in various ways over the years. I especially want to thank Dominic Cirillo who has labored tirelessly over several years on both the web and printed versions of the Knowledge Base and without whom I simply would not have survived. There are also the many graduate Teaching Assistants who helped make the transition to a web-based course and have contributed their efforts and insights to this work and the teaching of research methods. And, of course, I want to thank all of the students, both undergraduate and graduate, who participated in my courses over the years and used the Knowledge Base in its various incarnations. You have been both my challenge and inspiration.
For all of the students who in the end taught me so much more than I could have ever taught them. And to my daughter Nora who continues to provide the inspiration for my efforts.
Using the KB in a Course
Updated editions of the Knowledge Base in printed form are published by Cengage Publishing.
If you are an instructor or faculty member who wants to use part or all of this web version of the Knowledge Base in a course, please feel free to do so as long as you provide a link to this website for your students to view. You can also register your use of the Knowledge Base with Conjoint.ly.